Weekend in Granada and Sevilla

31 03 2010

Naomi is a short termer here in Córdoba. As well as loads of fun and an incredible photographer – she’s an all around good friend and I love hanging out with her. So when her folks planned to come visit and spend a weekend travelling to Seville and Granada I was stoked to be invited along – as well as being incredibly generous to invite me, the ‘fun’ trait is in the genes.

We spent two nights in Granada and 2 in Seville, catching the beginning of Semana Santa in Seville – which was amazing (although it takes 4 times as long to walk anywhere through the crowds!) My favourites ere tha gardens of the Palace in Seville (where you could seriously just pass the day wandering, pausing to read, sitting on a bench – awesome!) and the Alhambra inGranada. But close to topping both, was the amazing graffiti in Granada.

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17 03 2010

I’ve just been sitting back, relaxing in the quiet dark listening to Travis the first CD I bought here. I have to tell you, I really like siesta. Partly because the rest of the house quietens and I can do what I can’t do at other times because everyone gets so much done in a day! Or it’s a great time for the not-morning person to start the day again, this time around, not so early 🙂 So I take time to read the bible and pray, have a cuppa and write some emails before the day begins its end.

Playing Games

12 03 2010

Often after youth group we play games and charades is surprisingly hard! I played in a group with Tiff once and when she went to have a go, she didn’t understand the titles they were telling her, or hadn’t seen the film. When asked to do a John Grisham film she couldn’t work out why she’d never heard of ‘The Farm’. I had no idea what famous song was referred to as ‘the Word’ – the Spanish pronounciation of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’

When you start playing you realize it’s a lot harder than you’d first think. Not only do you get stuck with ‘sounds like’, often you’re describing a title that picks up a different part of the film so you can’t act it out the same way.

I had the same trouble with drawing for people to guess. The way you depict simple things like a phone or a garbage can is different in a different culture. Even a wrong way symbol changes.

Then add to that when people guess stuff, you don’t know what ball park they’re in or where they are going wrong interpreting your cues. Lastly, people get so excited by guessing the answer they start yelling and shrieking. And trying to translate squealing is totally impossible.

The other game we often play has stacks of questioins about Spain, a buzzer and when you lose – you get pied in the face. I tried to play seriously, but that failed miserably so I resorted to major guessing. Every second question seemed to be about numbers so I randomly picked a number each time. It was only when everyone freaked out after I picked 500 that I realised I was actually choosing how many points I was wagering on the next question. By some freak accident I got the next question right when everyone else bombed – and won the game. Just call me the Expert!

una decepción

10 03 2010

una decepción = a disappointment

In Spanish, the word una decepción isn’t what it seems. But it stuck me recently how sometimes they’re interestingly the same. I’m disappointed when I’m deceived that what God is doing isn’t the best for me. I’m disappointed when I’m deceived.

Flat Stanley

8 03 2010

Today my latest visitor is going home… well probably not today, because once again it’s raining and he’s not so fond of getting wet.

Flat Stanley had an unfortunate incident with a bulletin board, however he miraculously (and painlessly) survived and now he makes the best of his altered state. One special advantage is that Flat Stanley can now visit his friends by being mailed in an envelope. We’ve travelled around Córdoba together but unfortunately it has been raining pretty much solidly the whole time he has been here. And apart from glad wrap and an umbrella I haven’t been able to help much.

So today he’s going home with a little album of his travels and a Spanish bumper sticker… for his mailbox?

Is English Your Second Language?

7 03 2010

BJ had a friend he practices language with. Juan is learning English and when he met BJ’s wife and later, Tiffany, he pronounced that they both spoke English very well. Quite comforting for them both – since they’re American. I’m still waiting to hear the verdict after he met Andrew, a friend from OZ. But I don’t think I want his verdict on me. I’m the first Australian a lot of the people I’ve chatted have met. And I’m not sure I’m selling us all that well.

I was chatting to someone in English, to a girl who has been studying English for quite a while and is fairly fluent. But after talking to me for a while, she asked what language we normally speak in Australia. When I explained it was English, she asked if it was the main language or if there was another language I spoke at home. It’s the first time I’ve been asked if I come from a Non-English speaking background, and quite disconcerting. I know we sound a little different but really???


3 03 2010

A friend emailed me if I ever get lonely. I have such a great environment here with fantastic house parents, good friends and a great church. So it catches me off guard when I have those moments of deep loneliness. Why should I feel lonely?

  • During the church retreat this weekend I was thinking through this a lot. When I came to Spain, I knew I’d face loneliness – because I was leaving behind friends and family who’ve known me for ages and know me well. But I hadn’t really prepared myself for so many levels of loneliness. There’s the 2D problem with language – I don’t feel like I can express myself fully, so I often feel two dimensional, leaving out the depth of what I want to say. How can people be real friends if they really only know a tiny bit of me? 
  • Then there’s the cultural difference – this is a really friendly culture, but that’s not always the same as open or welcoming. Everyone says hi and greets you with a kiss; it’s not so often that I see people continuing the conversation. I a friend about this and he was surprised that I thought he could talk to people he doesn’t know. He said he feels shame and ill-equipped. Then there’s the group nature of fun here – which leads to group conversations which leads to talking at 100km/hr, raucous laughter and incomprehensible Spanish

What I hadn’t prepared myself for was the loneliness with English speakers. We’re all here battling to make our lives work in a new language and new culture, so we just can’t be the ‘ideal friend’ or ‘support’ we’d like to be or have. It’s easy to feel resentful or that and let down and to figure that they can and should help me not to feel lonely. But God’s been reminding me this weekend that actually loneliness is exactly what I was saying I would count as a cost when I came to Spain. He put the things that are complicating their life in place. He makes us different people. And He’s teaching me something by having me feel this way. 

Furthermore, loneliness, rightly understood points me to heave, to a time when I recognise fully that all my needs wants and desires are met in Him and when I live in a City that needs no light because or God is in our midst.

So when we broke up into families to pray I was reminded that I am where I am meant to be – a person who is willing to leave my family and friends for the sake of the gospel and count the cost… I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God… Luke 18:29 

I think I’m learning to grieve it, but leave it with God who had made it that way.  And when I’d finished praying this, the youngest daughter of the couple I live with came to ask me to come join their family in praying. And that just washed me with the second half, verse 30… “(No one)…will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”